Title: George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 1 June 1862
Date: June 1, 1862
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from George Washington Whitman, Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman, ed. Jerome M. Loving (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1975), 53-54. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00319
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Eric Conrad, Kathryn Kruger, Gillian Price, and April Lambert
Camp Reno Newbern N.C.
How are you all to night, the last letter I received from home (dated May 15) you was not well Mother, and I have been quite uneasy about you, Andrew too was under the weather, but I hope you are both entirely well by this time,
Jeff I supose is kept pretty buisy with the work you speak of, Matt and Sis, I hope are flourishing as usual, Jess you say, is about the same as when I came away, Walt holds his own I hope, and Tobias can eat his full rations I spect. Every thing here is about the same as when I last wrote, I am hearty as ever and take things prety easy, and comfortable this hot weather. It is pretty warm here but we do not suffer any yet, we are encamped on the bank of the Trent River, so that we have plenty of fresh water which is a great thing in an encampment, I have no idea how long we shall stay here, we have been all ready to leave two or three times, but the orders were countermanded so here we are yet. We were paid off day before yesterday and I send you five dollars by this, I will send you 25 or 30 by expres which will leave here in a day or two. I send this because I think you will get it sooner than you would by expres.
The boys in our company gave me quite a surprise yesterday. I was in my tent, washing and geting ready to go on parade, when our Orderly Sergeant came to my tent and said some of the men wanted to see me out at their quarters I suposed there was some little difficulty they wanted me to settle but when I got there I found the Company all formed in line and all hands seemed in mighty good humor by the way they grined, and one of them went into his tent and brought out a splendid sword and sash, sword belt, shoulder knots, sword knot, and everything complete, and gave them to me, in behalf of the company. I was quite taken aback I tell you as it was done so quietly that I was taken by surprise and my being in the company such a short time, that it was the last thing that I expected.
I hear to day by one of our men who has just come on from New York that the three months troops are all ordered out for another three Months service, what the deuce are they going to do with all the sogers. I fell quite anxious about Hallecks army at Corinth1 although I guess if the leading Officers are what they ought to bee there is not mutch danger.
McCleland2 seems to be working rather Slowly but very surely in Virginia. I am not particularly anxious for a fight, but I should kinder like to be there when the big fight comes off at Richmond
Well Mother it is about time for me to turn in, Let me hear from you as soon as you get this. I got a couple of papers to day from home. So good night to all, and be sure and write often
G. W. Whitman
1. General Henry Wager Halleck (1815–1872) was in command of all Union forces in the West, from November 1861 to July 1862, when he became General-in-Chief of the Army—a position he held until replaced by Grant in March 1864. In May of 1862 Halleck's army, in continuation of the successful Shiloh Campaign, drove the Confederate forces out of Corinth, Mississippi. [back]
2. General George Brinton McClellan (1826–1885) was General-in-Chief of the Army of the United States from November 1861, until July 1862, when he was replaced by General Henry W. Halleck. In 1864, when McClellan ran for the presidency, the Democratic party split between war Democrats and peace Democrats. To satisfy the war Democrats McClellan was nominated; to satisfy the peace Democrats C. L. Vallandigham and his followers were allowed to draft the platform. Thomas Jefferson Whitman evidently considered the entire Democratic party as "the peace party" as evidenced from the letter to his brother Walt dated July 7, 1863. [back]